Kathakali is a dance theatre form from Kerala in southern India. The performer is trained to both act and dance. The training scheme is long and elaborate. At 7, Maya started learning it both in Kerala and New Delhi. Her first teacher, Guru Mampuzha Madhava Panicker, chose to teach her the male role - the real cream of Kathakali. Later, she trained for long years with Guru Sadanam Balakrishnan. Kathakali has been a deep inspiration for Maya in the making of contemporary performances and teaching.